How to Tell When Vintage Levi’s Were Made

selvedge inseamAs we’ve discussed, certain vintage Levi’s will flatter particular body types. But how to tell when the jeans were made before investing the time to try them on? Here are a few guidelines:

  1. If the “E” on the red Levi’s tab on the back pocket has a big E, then it was made pre-1971.
  2.  If the red tab has lettering on only the front, the jeans are pre-1955 (woo!)
  3. single stitch rather than a chain stitch on the top of the back pockets, means the jeans were produced before 1976.
  4. If the inseam on the inside of the jeans shows selvedge (meaning you can see the end of the fabric, usually with a white edge and a red line), then the  jeans are probably pre-80s.
  5. If the jeans have care tags, they were made post-70s
  6. If the inseam has single stitching, the jeans were made before the mid-80s (after that they’ll have a double stitch).

If all this is way too labor intensive, Levi’s currently makes designs that are reminiscent of the best vintage versions, and the sizing is way more predictable.

[Photo via Heddles]
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